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The scientific study of the characteristics of the skull, such as size and shape, especially in humans.

cra′ni·o·log′i·cal (-ə-lŏj′ĭ-kəl) adj.
cra′ni·o·log′i·cal·ly adv.
cra′ni·ol′o·gist n.


(Anthropology & Ethnology) the branch of science concerned with the shape and size of the human skull, esp with reference to variations between different races
craniological adj
ˌcranioˈlogically adv
ˌcraniˈologist n


(ˌkreɪ niˈɒl ə dʒi)

a science that deals with the size, shape, and other characteristics of human skulls.


the science that studies the size, shape, and other features of human skulls. — craniologist, n.craniologic, craniological, adj.
See also: Head


The study of the shapes and sizes of human skulls.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.craniology - the scientific study of the skulls of various human races
bioscience, life science - any of the branches of natural science dealing with the structure and behavior of living organisms
phrenology - a now abandoned study of the shape of skull as indicative of the strengths of different faculties
References in classic literature ?
I am certainly developing the wisdom of the serpent, for when Mortimer pressed his questions to an inconvenient extent I asked him casually to what type Frankland's skull belonged, and so heard nothing but craniology for the rest of our drive.
Phillip Mallett's talk was called "The Body in the Woods," in which he spoke of how the mind and body interact in the novel, the power of suggestion, craniology, somnambulism, the disconnection between the mental and physical life, inner vision, metamorphosing marks, and Darwinian plentifulness among many other fascinating subjects.
His study was a product of its time, which placed a particular focus on craniology and metric analysis.
The 'scientific racism' of the nineteenth century produced several offshoots of what Harvard biologist Stephen Jay Gould terms 'the mis-measure of man'; Craniometry, craniology, phrenology--the measure of human skulls in an attempt to scientifically determine or prove the racial superiority of the Caucasian group over non-White population groups.
Dr Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828), a German doctor, founded craniology, a would-be science later called phrenology.
In spite of this, since the first experiments of physical anthropology, craniology, phrenology, physiognomics, and anthropometry, what was operative in their systems of classification were measurable visual marks, exteriority or physical characteristics (bones, skulls, blood vessels, genitals, brains, blood quantum) which heuristic measurement was secured by the replicability, certainty and universality of experiments, data-extractions, gauges and grids.
It was, rather, a popular and diverse field of inquiry, composed of investigations in a number of different fields, including craniology, ethnology, physiology, mesmerism, and phrenology.